On January 1st I always pray for a theme I can carry with me throughout the year. Most times I get a Bible verse, but three days ago a word came to mind: Magnanimous. I had a vague idea what it meant and I did a bit of research. The Latin root: “Great + Soul.” The definition: “Generous and forgiving of an insult or injury.”
I gulped, wondering what injuries I would endure… Then today (January 3!) I set up a Whatsapp and sent a friend two kisses, “xx.” But I got the wrong number and sent it to someone else! Oh, the agony! I felt SO EMBARRASSED!!
Sometimes our magnanimity (do try to pronounce it) must extend to ourselves. And if we can laugh at ourselves, we can laugh with others.
“If you want to walk on water,” a minister said, looking around at us, “get out of the boat!”
I gasped. That was blunt! But it was true as well. How can I follow Jesus anywhere, at anytime, and at any cost, if I don’t want to climb out of the security of a boat?
Thankfully, Jesus understands our fear of failure, and anxieties at finding ourselves out of our depth, but he still stretches out his hand. “Come!” he calls to each one of us. He dares us to step out of our little boat. He dares us to put everything on the line for him. He dares us to trust that if we sink, he will reach out and hold us up. “Come!”
The other day I told someone how I had royally messed up, but that God had used it get me back on track, and good had come out of it. The person went silent for what seemed like a minute. “Oh no!” I thought. “I have offended them.”
When the person finally spoke, it was slow and deliberate. “That… is… exactly… what… happened to me… Thanks so much for sharing… It gives me hope.”
Isn’t this what God’s humour is like? It’s brilliant! The weak make others strong. The poor make others rich. The imprisoned set others free. Those who mess up, spread hope. God always finishes with a surprising twist. He says, “There is a… time to laugh.” (Ecclesiastes 3) Now is a good time!
“You can trust me,” someone said. “I’ve done this before. Just stand where you are, and I’ll stand an arm length away. I’ll pretend to punch you, but my fist will never touch you. It’s all about getting the distance right.”
I trusted the person as they positioned themself and measured the space between us. I trusted them as they did a test run. I trusted them as they threw the punch. WHAM! I saw stars!! Blood spurted from my nose.
“I’m so sorry!” the person cried. “It’s always worked before.” But as I blew my nose, I started to laugh. Talk about being gullible!
This happened when I was 28, but it taught me something important. GOD doesn’t get his calculations wrong. It says, “Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD.” (Proverbs 16:20)